2013 Federated Auto Parts 400
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2013)|
|Race 26 of 36 in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season|
Richmond International Speedway
|Date||September 7, 2013|
|Location||Richmond International Raceway
Richmond, Virginia, United States
|Course||Permanent racing facility
0.75 mi (1.2 km)
|Distance||400 laps, 300 mi (482.803 km)|
|Weather||Temperatures up to 81 °F (27 °C); wind speeds up to 8 miles per hour (13 km/h)|
|Driver||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Brad Keselowski||Penske Racing|
||Roush Fenway Racing|
|Television in the United States|
|Announcers||Allen Bestwick, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree|
The 2013 Federated Auto Parts 400 was a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stock car race held on September 7, 2013, at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia, United States. Contested over 400 laps, it was the twenty-sixth and final race leading into the Chase for the Sprint Cup in the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season. Carl Edwards of Roush Fenway Racing won the race, his second win of the season, while Kurt Busch finished second. Ryan Newman, Jamie McMurray, and Paul Menard rounded out the top five.
The race was marred by controversy in which two teams were found to have manipulated the outcome of the race and Chase positions in the final ten laps. NASCAR ultimately determined that Michael Waltrip Racing, Penske Racing, and Front Row Motorsports were involved in two separate, but intertwined, incidents, first by Clint Bowyer intentionally causing a caution with less than ten laps remaining in the race, and on the ensuing restart, having Brian Vickers pit after a restart from caution so that Martin Truex, Jr. would clinch a Wildcard berth over Ryan Newman, and the second was collusion where Penske's Joey Logano earned the final guaranteed berth over Jeff Gordon after passing Front Row's David Gilliland. Both situations were intertwined together because of the tenth place and wild card situation. This scandal became widely known as Spingate from Bowyer's intentional spin.
Final Chase for the Cup statistics
|(post-race) - Sunday, September 8||(post-penalties) - Friday, September 13|
|Pos||Driver||Points||Wins||Top 5||Top 10||Pos||Driver||Points||Wins||Top 5||Top 10|
|1||Matt Kenseth||2015||5||6||13||1||Matt Kenseth||2015||5||6||13|
|2||Jimmie Johnson||2012||4||9||15||2||Jimmie Johnson||2012||4||9||15|
|3||Kyle Busch||2012||4||11||15||3||Kyle Busch||2012||4||11||15|
|4||Kevin Harvick||2006||2||6||13||4||Kevin Harvick||2006||2||6||13|
|5||Carl Edwards||2006||2||8||13||5||Carl Edwards||2006||2||8||13|
|6||Joey Logano||2003||1||8||14||6||Joey Logano||2003||1||8||14|
|7||Greg Biffle||2003||1||3||10||7||Greg Biffle||2003||1||3||10|
|8||Clint Bowyer||2000||0||8||13||8||Clint Bowyer||2000||0||8||13|
|9||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||2000||0||5||14||9||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||2000||0||5||14|
|10||Kurt Busch||2000||0||8||13||10||Kurt Busch||2000||0||8||13|
|11||Kasey Kahne||2000||2||8||11||11||Kasey Kahne||2000||2||8||11|
|12||Martin Truex, Jr.||2000||1||6||11||12||Ryan Newman||2000||1||6||12|
Team orders controversy
Team orders became an issue during the last ten laps of the race, and it was ultimately determined that three teams had tried to manipulate the outcome of the race and Chase positions.
Ryan Newman entered the race trailing Martin Truex, Jr. for the final wild card. In order to guarantee a Chase position, he needed to either win or be five points ahead of Truex and not have Joey Logano or Greg Biffle fall out of the top ten. Jeff Gordon trailed Logano by 16 points for 10th place, the final Chase spot based on points position.
On Lap 393 Gordon was ahead of Logano by a large enough margin that Gordon led Logano by two points for the final guaranteed Chase position. Newman was the leader, and would have bumped out both Logano and Truex (one win each) had the race ended at that point. Truex's teammate Clint Bowyer spun out in Turn 4, apparently the result of either losing a right front tire or being spun by Dale Earnhardt, Jr.. The field pitted under the resulting caution flag, including Bowyer, Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Brian Vickers, Newman and the rest of the field. A slow pit stop for Newman dropped him to third, behind Carl Edwards, Paul Menard, with Kurt Busch starting next to him in 4th.
Truex gained multiple positions. Logano, who was two laps behind the leader (while Gordon was on the lead lap), took the wave around to move up to one lap behind the leaders, where he could race other cars one lap behind in an attempt to gain more positions and overtake Gordon. Edwards went on to win, albeit with controversy as it appeared he jumped Paul Menard on the restart, with Busch and Newman finishing behind Edwards. However, he was not penalized (as had happened to Jimmie Johnson at Dover in June) as it was determined Menard had slid his tires and was slow getting up to speed.
Newman and Truex finished tied for the final wildcard spot on both wins, and the first tie-breaker, points. However, since Truex had an extra second place finish at Texas, he entered the Chase. Logano, who overtook Gordon on the final restart, clinched the final non-wild card spot by one point over Gordon.
Many in the garage suspected that Bowyer had spun out in an attempt to manipulate the outcome of the race so that teammate Truex would gain a Chase spot, in an incident dubbed the Singapore Sling, after the 2008 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix Formula One race, where Nelson Piquet, Jr. intentionally caused a caution to give an advantage to teammate Fernando Alonso, who would win the race. Earnhardt was directly behind Bowyer at the moment of Bowyer's spin, and said afterwards that the way Bowyer's car spun was "one of the craziest things he's ever seen". Furthermore, on the video replay, the radio communications between Bowyer and crew chief Brian Pattie showed they were openly worried about the possibility of Newman winning and eliminating Truex from the Chase on lap 391, two laps before Bowyer spun out. Another suspicious conversation was revealed between Vickers and his spotter, team general manager and vice president Ty Norris, where Norris ordered a completely oblivious Vickers to make a green-flag pit stop after the restart on lap 398 in order to give Truex another position to tie Newman in points. These conversations seemed to provide evidence of some kind of manipulation going on vis a vis team orders. In order for the scheme to work, Gordon, who was in 10th place, had to be overtaken by Logano in order to guarantee Truex a wild card. This scandal became known as Spingate from Bowyer's late-race spin.
On September 9, NASCAR fined MWR $300,000—the highest fine imposed on a team in NASCAR's 67-year history. It also indefinitely suspended Norris, placed all three of MWR crew chiefs on probation until December 31, and docked Bowyer and Truex 50 driver points (Vickers, a Nationwide Series regular, was not eligible for Sprint Cup driver points under the series declaration rule). Each car was also docked 50 owner's points (Waltrip for the #55 and #56, Rob Kauffman for the #15). As this penalty was applied before the reset for the Chase, it effectively knocked Truex out of the Wildcard spot in favor of Newman. The 50-point penalty dropped Truex to 17th in points, removing him from eligibility for a wild-card position. While NASCAR could not find any conclusive evidence that Bowyer had deliberately spun out, it did determine that Vickers' pit on Norris' orders was illegal. The point deduction does not affect Bowyer's post-seeding, as all penalties affected his pre-Chase points total and he had clinched a Chase berth two races earlier. Gordon, meanwhile, remained eliminated from the Chase because he did not have the necessary points to leapfrog Logano for a spot, which drew even more controversy, since Logano was able to overtake Gordon in the ensuing restart after the caution. Logano had to stay in the top ten in order to give Truex a wild card if Newman did not win. Had the caution not occurred, Gordon would likely have clinched a Chase position, since Logano would have remained two laps down.
Shortly after the penalties against Michael Waltrip Racing for trying to manipulate the race, there was news that Logano may have had help from Front Row Motorsports driver David Gilliland. Penske and Front Row are considered technical partners, as they both use Ford cars and Roush Fenway Racing powertrains. Radio communications seemed to indicate that Front Row officials asked Gilliland to slow down and give up a position to Logano in order to help Logano race his way into the Chase, in exchange for an undisclosed form of compensation. Logano passed Gilliland on the final restart.
After a second inquiry, NASCAR placed both Penske and Front Row on probation until December 31, and forced all teams to attend a Saturday afternoon meeting at the 2013 GEICO 400 in Joliet, Illinois, regarding ethics in light of the two related race fixing incidents. NASCAR CEO Brian France announced that Gordon would be added to the Chase field, expanding the field to 13 drivers. In a press conference, France stated that "based on the totality of events that were outside" Gordon's control, Gordon was at an "unfair disadvantage," and "would have qualified" in the absence of those events.
NAPA, the primary sponsor of Truex' #56 car, announced on September 19, 2013, that they would withdraw sponsorship of the #56 team at the end of the season as a direct result of the match fixing controversy. Ultimately, MWR had to scale the team down to a part-time team for 2014, while Truex and everyone on his pit crew ended up being signed by Furniture Row Racing to replace Kurt Busch, with Truex effectively being Newman's teammate via the satellite team association of Furniture Row and Childress.
- "2013 Sprint Cup Series Schedule". ESPN. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- "2013 Federated Auto Parts 400 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
- "Richmond Qualifying and Starting Lineup". ESPN. Jayski's Silly Season Site. September 6, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013.
- "Unofficial Race Results for the 56Th Annual Federated Auto Parts 400". Jayski. September 7, 2013. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- Fryer, Jenna (September 16, 2013). "SpinGate: NASCAR Credibility Crisis Began After Clint Bowyer Spun Out At Richmond". HuffPost Sports. Associated Press. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
- Gilliland, Logano teams investigated
- "Gordon added to postseason picture". NASCAR.com. September 13, 2013. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
2013 AdvoCare 500
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2013 GEICO 400